IMPORTANT: Keep Your Provider Directory Information Current to Protect Your Network Status. Learn more

VITAL Progress: Program Wins Innovation Award

Medical science and technology are evolving faster than ever. Researchers, physicians, and medical device makers are developing revolutionary new treatments and other patient care breakthroughs — including diagnostic tests, durable medical equipment, or new procedures or care processes.

Since its 2015 launch, Highmark Health's VITAL program has played a key role in supporting innovations that have commercial approval but do not yet have the widespread adoption of the medical community. That support helps clinicians and tech companies more quickly test their market-ready care solutions in real hospital environments and generate results so insurers may consider covering them.

And VITAL's efforts aren't going unnoticed. 

In April, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) announced that VITAL, a program of Highmark Health, won the organization's 2018 Brand Innovation Award.

David Holmberg, left, president and chief executive officer of Highmark Health, accepts the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association's (BCBSA) 2018 Brand Innovation Award on behalf of VITAL at a recent BCBSA Board of Directors meeting.

Part of the BCBSA's annual Brand Excellence Awards, the Brand Innovation Award is given for enhancing the position of the Blue brand by delivering new programs, products, and/or initiatives. Entries were judged on their brand- and business-building impact, originality, and potential for adoption across the BCBSA system of Blue plans.

“We're very honored and thrilled to receive the BCBSA's 2018 Brand Innovation Award,” said Eileen Rodgers, director of the VITAL program. “VITAL has made great strides and established many impactful clinical and technology projects in a very short time. We have more than 40 new ideas under evaluation, and we're excited to help fast-track these potential care solutions for those who can benefit the most — patients.”

HeartFlow is an example of new patient care technology that is blossoming with VITAL's help.

What VITAL's Support Means

When doctors or other industry leaders identify a potential new treatment, technology, or procedure, VITAL offers support that helps them gain insights and collect the needed data to demonstrate the effectiveness of the innovation.

VITAL collects evidence of clinical quality, financial feasibility, and patient experience to make a case for adopting the new solution within the care delivery system. That information can help to expand opportunities for enhanced care management programs and changes to coverage and reimbursement policies. And that can give patients faster access to new, promising treatments.*

Currently, testing occurs at Allegheny Health Network (AHN) facilities in Pittsburgh for AHN patients who also are eligible Highmark members in order to obtain a full picture of clinical and cost data.

As of April 2018, VITAL:

  • Has 13 active projects with 40+ in the pipeline
  • Is focused on cardiology, oncology, women's services, chronic conditions (COPD and diabetes), precision medicine, and other areas of clinical transformation
  • Anticipates supporting testing and validation of 10+ projects per year by 2020

VITAL is seeking to work with clinicians and technology leaders who have market-ready innovations that are ready for testing and evaluation to spur broader adoption. For more information or to begin an application, visit VITAL's newly redesigned website at or send an email to

*The coverage of any medical service or treatment is subject to the terms of the member's benefit plan. Please be sure to use NaviNet® or the applicable HIPAA electronic transactions to check member benefits and eligibility prior to ordering or providing services.